Hearings: Reporting from Inside the Courts


Going inside child welfare courts …

In 2019, The Chronicle of Social Change began a series called “Hearings,” stories about a corner of the law that is not reported on enough – America’s child welfare courts.

Across the country these tribunals – often called juvenile dependency or family court – are routinely witness to some of the most high stakes legal proceedings in American jurisprudence. While criminal courts and their most severe punishments – the death penalty, life in prison – are widely known and debated, how many Americans pause to consider the commonplace legal practice of forever severing parents from their children?

FMC deployed editorial staff around the country to visit and report from child welfare courts, with an eye on telling broader truths about the process based on the cases we witness. We also worked with outside contributors to share the valuable perspectives of parents, attorneys, judges and others who wish to tell their story.

Access Hearings here.